Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Brunch (and Chorizo Source Update)

***UPDATE***  Here is a wonderful source for Spanish Chorizo:  Aurelia's Chorizo is located in the Texas Hill Country not far from my hometown, Fredericksburg.

Quoting from their website:  "At Aurelia's Chorizo, we take the responsibility of quality very seriously. Our sausage is made with very high standards. Only beautiful full cuts of pork and beef chuck are used. No fillers or trimmings. Garlic is freshly ground for each batch. Our smoked paprika is imported from the de la Vera region of Spain. This region of denomination is very important to our sausage's depth of flavor."

Sounds good to me! 

Aurelia's Chorizo is also featured in a book called "The Texas Hill Country:  A Food and Wine Lover's Paradise".   The owner of Aurelia's Chorizo, Leslie Horne, has an amazing recipe featured on page 34: Mushrooms and Aurelia's Chorizo in Triple Sherry Cream Sauce.    Yum!  It's a party dish served with toasted baguette slices. 

Sunday brunch has become one of our family's traditions.  After we get home from church, I prepare a quick mid-morning meal (usually breakfast-y foods..anything savory has been a bit far-out for little boy tastebuds) and then we take delicious Sunday naps, or at least the boys do.  Before we had kids, brunch would be rather elaborate and take a little longer to prepare; we'd invite friends over after church and sit around the table for hours.  Nowadays, I hardly have time to kick off my high heels before I have to get something cooking and quickly to the table to avoid the post-church-I'm-so-hungry-and-tired meltdowns of small children.  Lately we've had a lot of waffles, French toast, and pancakes. 

One of my favorite cookbooks is Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier (Dusoulier, C., 2007, US Edition: New York,   Broadway Books).  She a native Parisian, about my age, and has a fantastic food blog:  I adore her writing style and she does all of her own photography for her books and her blog (like yours truly, although she is light years better than me). 

I was thumbing through the pages of her first cookbook, and came across a gorgeous picture.  Being a very visual person, it is not unusual for me to study a picture, decide to make what's presented, and then read the recipe.  Before even confirming what was in it, I knew this savory "bread" would make a Sunday brunch appearance. 

There is one variation between the recipe below and Clotilde's version:  I had to use pork sausage.  Her recipe calls for Spanish air-dried chorizo.  While Clotilde has the amazing greenmarkets of Paris at her fingertips, I have Wal-Mart.  Keeping an optimistic outlook, I asked the meat clerk if he by any chance carried Spanish air-dried chorizo.   I sure wish I could have taken a picture of the utter puzzlement on his face...  Long story short (or not...)--I substituted good ole' Jimmy Dean.   

Tomato, Pistachio, and Chorizo Loaf
(Cake Tomate, Pistache and Chorizo)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sesame seeds--one for the pan, one for topping
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (preferably whole milk), Greek-style yogurt, or buttermilk
3 1/2 ounces Spanish air-dried chorizo (I substituted reduced-fat mild pork sausage)
12 sun-dried tomato halves packed in oil, drained and finely diced
3/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted and chopped ("slice" them as best you can lengthwise...they're pretty once baked in the bread)
3/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, sprinkle half of the sesame seeds onto the bottom and sides, and shake the pan to coat. 

2.  Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper.  Pour in the oil and yogurt, and whisk again.  Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporate.  Don't overmix the batter--it's okay if a few lumps remain.  Fold in the chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes, pistachios, and parsley.  Stir to combine.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, level the surface with a spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.

3.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the loaf is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes on the counter, run a knife around the pan to loosen, unmold, and transfer to a rack to cool completely.  Cut in slices or cubes just before serving. 

I also added Mini Frittatas to the brunch menu.  While in Nashville, my dear friend Heather prepared a version of this beautiful and delicious recipe for us.  She baked hers in a muffin tin:  I did, too, but I used a mini muffin tin to reduce the baking time.  (Plus kids appreciate tiny portions, even if they can't articulate it.)

Mini Veggie Frittatas

4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/2 cup Swiss chard, washed, cut away from the center "vein" and chopped (Substitute spinach if you haven't any chard)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk eggs and milk together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

2.  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place zucchini, tomato, Swiss chard, and garlic in skillet and saute' until vegetables become soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Fold vegetables into egg mixture. Whisk in the ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

3.  Use a small spoon to fill the muffin cups.  Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Makes 24 mini frittatas.